How to Teach Scentwork

Everything you need to know about teaching your love of scentwork

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This Pro-Track course is designed especially for you if . . .

You love scentworking with your own dog.

You are already teaching pet dog training classes, but not teaching scentwork.

You've been looking for a truly pet friendly scentwork provider.

You want the very best for your clients.

Teaching scentwork to pet dogs and their people requires a very specific skill set. Unlike Police or Forces handlers, your clients come with a variety of breed types, none of which have been selected to be scentwork dogs, but all of whom can give the professionals a run for their money given half a chance! Your job is to bring out the detector dog in every pet dog that walks into your training hall.

Never before have I shared the secrets that have made Talking Dogs Scentwork® trainers the best in the business. But I share your passion, I want every dog to be a detector dog and you want to train them. Together we can help each other reach our goals.

By way of an 8 week training program that, when you are ready, you can use with your clients, I share the experience and skills I've learned while delivering hundreds of workshops to thousands of people. Using best practice protocols over the course of 10 lectures, I share:

Not just the how's, but also the why's of:

  • Setting up your training hall
  • Assessing the right target scent for each dog
  • Teaching systematic, professional handling skills from free searches to a full search plan
  • Ensuring success for each individual team, dog and handler

  • Blind, blank, free and directed searches
  • Keeping scentwork fun while building stamina and duration

  • Coaching clients effectively at every stage of their scentwork journey

You'll find everything you need to learn how to be a supportive, knowledgable scentwork trainer plus the tools to deliver a great scentwork course to your clients. Each lesson includes Lesson Aims, Learning Goals for dog and handler, toolkit lists for trainer and client, plus a full set of client handouts.

Devising this course has been a labour of love for me. It includes:

  • 40+ video clips

  • 38 page course booklet

  • Syllabus and client handouts for an 8 week Starter Scentworkers course

How to Teach Scentwork Practical In-Person Workshop with Pam

All students who gain their certificate on this course are invited to join my How to Teach Scentwork Practical Workshop. These exclusive workshops allow you to work directly with me to practise the skills you have learned during the online course. The workshops will be hands on and will include information gathering, setting appropriate searches, coaching teams, addressing challenges with both dogs and handlers, and more. Places will be limited and will only be open to students who have successfully completed the online course. I always stress the importance of practicing the skills needed for teaching scentwork, so if you are able to come to this workshop it will be a great add-on to your online studies.


When: Sunday 23rd February 2020, 09.30 - 16.30

Where: Eastrea, near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire UK

How much: £125

Eligibility: Student must have completed the How to Teach Scentwork online course and received their certificate.

If the student fails to meet this criteria by 20th January 2020 their workshop fee will be returned minus an admin fee of £20.

Book: Bookings will open on 1st December and will be taken on a first come, first served basis. I will post the booking link here and at

Your Instructor

Pam Mackinnon
Pam Mackinnon

As a professional dog trainer for 30 years, I have used scentwork to help thousands of dogs work with their owners to be more attentive, less reactive, more relaxed, less agitated. As a universal skill that can be learned by all dogs and all owners, the flexibility, fast results and good old fashioned fun found in scentwork led me to form Talking Dogs Scentwork® in 2011.

Since then I've been working hard to keep up with demand, such is the interest in scentwork. As the first national provider of scentwork training for non-selected (pet) dogs in Great Britain, TDS has quickly grown into the go-to scentwork training provider, with the TDS Detector Dog manual proving more popular than I could have ever imagined, selling well all over the world, but particularly in the UK and USA. I specialise in teaching all breed types, all ages, all abilities (physical, mental and emotional) Combining my years as a professional drug detector dog handler for HM Customs with my experience as a pet dog training and behaviour consultant, I tailor my teaching to dogs who don't have jobs, those who have been selected as companions rather than tools of the trade.

I spend the majority of my time travelling around the UK teaching Talking Dogs Scentwork® workshops. I am also privileged to be asked to share my knowledge at conferences and with major organisations, including Dogs Trust, Puppy School, Victoria Stilwell and the prestigious Woof! Conference.

To help meet demand and expand our knowledge base, I have been joined by a wonderful and select team of Talking Dogs Scentwork® Accredited Trainers.

Some of my working highlights include:

  • Drug Detector Dog Handler with HM Customs & Excise
  • Sirius Puppy Trainer in association with Dr. Ian Dunbar
  • Assistance Dog Trainer for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
  • Behaviourist for Wood Green Animal Shelters
  • Founding & running Talking Dogs Scentwork®, part of Talking Dogs Ltd.
  • Creating TD Rally® - a sport for pet dogs & their people

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
Will completing this course qualify me as a scentwork trainer?
In a word - no. Dog training is a physical activity requiring knowledge of mechanical skills as well as theoretical. I’ve written this course to give you a head start, to understand how and why to teach certain things without struggling to negotiate some of the challenges that will surely come your way. But you need to practise to become proficient.
Will completing this course allow me to become a Talking Dogs Scentwork Accredited Trainer?
It will assist in your application, but you will need to go through the usual application process (as detailed on the website) and to see you training before you can become one of my Accredited Trainers.
Does this course use active or passive indications?
Talking Dogs Scentwork® works exclusively with active indications. However, excluding lesson 1, all the other lectures can be adapted to passive indications.
I haven't taught my own or any other dog to search for a specific target scent. Is this course suitable for me?
Not yet. But once you have, come back and start learning about scentwork from the trainer's perspective.

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